Power crisis due to red-tape delays may dampen holidays
MANILA, Philippines — Infrawatch PH, an infrastructure-oriented think tank, warned on Tuesday that a power crisis could dampen the holiday season due to red-tape delays in the energy sector.
Terry Ridon, an Infrawatch PH convenor and a former House energy committee member, said that there had been a delay in the approval of six power supply agreements (PSAs) in the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) concession area.
“It has been more than a month since the successful competitive selection processes (CSPs) mandated by the Department of Energy (DOE) and yet, there has been no progress in the regulatory process because the DoE has yet to issue required documentation for the approval process to proceed,” Ridon said in a statement.
“We have not seen incompetence of this magnitude, especially since it has been DoE that has been insisting on CSPs for the procurement of additional capacity in distribution utilities (DUs),” he added.
According to Ridon, the CSP certifications required by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) have not yet been issued.
The DOE should issue the certifications “in the soonest time,” Ridon said.
“Regulatory foot-dragging and finger-pointing between the DOE and ERC will certainly not give sparkle to Christmas lights during the holiday season,” Ridon said.
He argued that there should be no reason for the DOE delay as energy officials were present during the Meralco CSP proceedings.
Among those present, Ridon said, were Energy Undersecretary Jesus Posadas, Assistant Secretary Robert Uy and Power Bureau Director Mario Marasigan.
“With more than a month since the CSPs in the Meralco concession area, the DoE should be reminded that the President’s 30-day timeline for cabinet-level regulatory approvals had already been breached,” Ridon said.
The Infrawatch PH convenor also warned energy officials of the possibility of being held in contempt.
“ERC Chair Agnes Devanadera has been very respectful in requesting the DoE to issue certifications for PSA submissions, based on the ERCs appreciation of the strict requirements of the SC [Supreme Court] in the case that affirmed the DoE’s power to institute CSP proceedings,” Ridon said.
“It should take no more than an hour for the DoE to issue such certifications, given that its officials were present during the CSP proceedings,” he added.
In September, Meralco signed PSAs with three companies — Phinma Energy Corp., San Miguel Energy Corp. and South Premiere Power Corp. — that will supply a combined 1,200 megawatts to Meralco for a decade.
Moreover, Meralco also signed PSAs with First Gen Hydro Power, Phinma Energy, and South Premiere Power for a combined capacity of 500 megawatts.
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